Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bad reviews and social anxiety

This painting of mine is about social anxiety. I'll try to explain. I generally rescue all bugs that make their way to my home. So, when moths appear, I try to trap them in a container and carry them outside. Rationally, I know that moths are harmless. In spite of this knowledge, if a moth moves while I'm carrying it out of the apartment, I often have a fit of hysteria that ends in flinging the container with the moth in the air and taking cover. It's irrational - I know this. That's how social anxiety is too - it's harmless, but it's there. This painting is about learning to co-habitate with social anxiety.

I think sometimes that people without social anxiety have no concept, and therefore no sympathy, for what introverts go through in social settings. By social settings, I mean, parties, of course, but also, talking to neighbors, or even to cashiers at the grocery store. These kinds of interactions are usually uncomfortable. Not to where you don’t do them, but it’s just that they aren’t easy. I’ve been thinking about this lately because almost all of my one star reviews for The Truth About Dating complain that the protagonist, Quinn, is mean. A recent reviewer said that Quinn was mean to her neighbor. I think that these reviewers are missing something important. The things she thinks in her head are examples of social anxiety. But they are just inside her head. She is not mean to her neighbor. She cooks for him, carries his groceries upstairs, and shovels his driveway. Thinking and saying are different. In fact, Quinn clears a lot of anxiety hurtles in order to keep helping out her neighbor. Going to his house for pie (that she made for him, from his dead mother’s recipe) is a deeply stressful event for Quinn, but she does it anyway! In my book, overcoming a pile of fears to help out her neighbor makes her one of those everyday kind of heroes that make the world a beautiful place.

3 comments:

  1. It is funny how everyone thinks so different and their views are different when reading something my take on Quinn was she was a deep thinker more then a speaker if that makes sense lol. as for the neighbour I never once thought she was mean to him? I think she cared very much for her neighbour and she showed it with the old saying actions speak louder then words!! I have read both your books and loved them! I really would like to see how Quinn's journey is going and I am hoping you will do a sequel!!
    Katie

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  2. I love the painting above and understand it as a person "co-habitating" with social anxiety. I also just finished The Truth about Dating and absolutely loved it. I identified with Quinn not as mean but as someone that was "always in her head." I think that people with social anxiety are misunderstood in a way that makes them seem angsty, and you captured that beatifully. Plus, I found myself laughing out loud at all of the date emails. Good read. Thanks! :)

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  3. Your book seems really intriguing, and so do you. I was very shy for most of my life and still am. Dating was not exactly fun, but I was able to find the humor in it and write about it too. Keep up the great work!

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